Chaotic primary elections bad omen for Mnangagwa

As State-controlled media journalists, who lost in Zanu PF primary elections retracted to their newsrooms, ethical quandaries they face constitute material for my future article.

By Cyprian Ndawana

In view of their vested interest, impartial reporting on elections will inevitably be a staggering feat.

With Zanu PF primary elections earning the party news headlines for all the wrong reasons, it was self-harming for it to glaringly display its

With all due respect, a party, whose in-house elections are fraught with irregularities, does not at all inspire confidence.

Norton constituency losing contestant, Christopher Mutsvangwa inconceivably dragged the party through the sewage.

He threw tantrums and disparaged Zanu PF national political commissar, Engelbert Rugeje, roundly accusing him of plotting his defeat.

Mutsvangwa did not confine his rantings to the polls. His unguarded statement at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) debate at which he chided the opposition to take up arms was ridiculous.

It was infra dig, devoid of the modicum expected of an advisor to the President.

Allegations of candidate imposition, rigging and violence are not particularly new to Zanu PF.

However, they scaled beyond precedence, as losing candidates, mostly bigwigs, became hysterical in defeat, exhibiting zero humility to concede to the outcome of elections.
It was an election noted among other things for the defeat of party heavyweights.

Even chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, the fourth in Zanu PF rankings in the politburo, came second best, only to be salvaged by a recount days later.

Other doyens, the likes of Douglas Mombeshora, Francis Nhema and David Chapfika, who contested for readmission into the gravy train, also lost their bids.

They ate the humble pie as did Christopher Mushohwe and Mike Bimha, to mention a few bigwigs.

Disgruntled supporters who demonstrated at the party headquarters in the aftermath of the elections uncharacteristically chanted anti-Zanu PF establishment songs and slogans.

Never has the party been this much of a querulous remnant of its former united self.

Although Zanu PF first secretary, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, initially doubled down, glitches that plagued the internal democratic processes, reports of some candidates not appearing on ballots and late delivery of ballot boxes are a negation he could not gloss over.

His announcement that the elections were conducted under a newly formed party organ, the said elections directorate, was of no positive effect, given that the deliberations were all but a charade.

Mnangagwa had to save face by pleading with members to refrain from demonstrations.

It is sheer embarrassment that the politburo, at its extraordinary session on Friday, had to order reruns in 16 constituencies, conceding to occurrences of irregular malpractices.

The Rugeje-led commissariat department slept on duty.

Stranger than fiction, the chaos has proven Zanu PF to be utterly rowdy.

In Mhondoro, a cadre who was not on ballot was declared winner; in Chegutu West, a legislator fired a gun; and, elsewhere, an enraged loser stormed into a polling station and destroyed electoral documents.

With the voters’ roll said to be a perfunctory compilation of membership names, rigging was as commonplace as a two a penny bandana.

The whole process was prone to dispute. It was a fix as you go ramshackle, prompting elections in some areas to be deferred by a day or two.

And, manned by returning officers, who were by and large ignorant of electoral regulations, administration of the elections were basically mediocre.

Allegations of night voting lent weight to the conclusion that the personnel was poorly knowledgeable.

Despite the prevailed chaos, defeat of the vanguard was not coincidental or incidental, but intentional.

Although few grey-haired won, their winning was cold comfort for Mnangagwa.

He cannot be confident on the backdrop of the falling of his generation.

The rate at which his coevals fell indicates that he too could have fallen had his post been up for contest.

There could be no clearer portend to the bad omen that awaits him at the harmonised elections than the loss of his seven ministers and fellow Politburo members.

After all, Mnangagwa is no stranger to electoral defeat. He lost to then little-known Blessing Chebundo, MDC-T candidate for Kwekwe constituency in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

If the MDC had not fielded two candidates in the 2008 newly-created Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, he could have lost again.

If the sharp mind that is oftentimes attributed to him is anything to go by, he might have noticed that the voting trend in the primary elections purposely confirms intentional removal of cadres who shared the chalice with ousted former President Robert Mugabe.

There is a bipartisan meeting of the minds that Zimbabwe cannot be, to all intents and purposes, open for business, as long as his henchmen are still in government.
It is erroneous to allude the mere removal of Mugabe as a cure for economic recovery.

Beneath the call by Mnangagwa to let bygones be bygones is a deceptive strategy to conceal scrutiny for his contribution towards the prevailing economic rot.
Yet, chances are high that he could have been not only a henchman, but at worst a hatchet man for Mugabe.

It is foolhardy to allude to that Mugabe be singularly made accountable for abductions of persons, atrocities, brutalities and economic ruination.

However, the Zanu PF primary elections in which party gurus lost, are evident that the electorate sees beyond the ruse in the call to let bygones be bygones.

As Mnangagwa promises to deliver the Zimbabwe we want, clean water, affordable healthcare and houses, the very basics he failed to do since 1980, if elections were to be held in July, my presage to him is, “Beware the ides of July”.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana, email, is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, speechwriter and newspaper columnist.


  1. MDC primary elections will be far much worse and we will see what Daily news writes

    1. Are you a prophet of doom? I’m sure any shambolic behaviour by any other party will be condemned in equal measure. Did you want them to praise the chaos in ZPF primaries, perhaps? A spade is a spade not a big spoon!

  2. It NewsDay my foot!

  3. GET RID OF MUGABE CONSTITUTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Mugabe was evil but had a good grip on that party. He was a good manager. This amateur hour. I hope it will be happy hour for the MDC Alliance.

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